Vale Hunter Harrison – the Pioneer of Modern Territory Football

AFL Northern Territory wish to advise Hunter Harrison, MBE, passed away this morning, Wednesday 1 October.

Hunter was widely regarded as the Godfather of football in the Northern Territory, with his service to the sport he loved, spanning more than 30 years.

Often referred to as a pioneer of modern Territory football, Hunter is also considered by many to be responsible for the stellar progression of Australian Rules Football in the Northern Territory in the last 30 years.

After starting the international push of Australian Football into Papua New Guinea in the 1950’s, Hunter Harrison immediately assumed various roles in the NTFL upon arriving in Darwin in 1961 including League President for three successful and productive stints in 1964-65, 1969-77 and 1980-87.

His collection of trophies acknowledges his tireless endeavours as an administrator including NTFL Life Member in 1971, the coveted Silver Jubilee Award for Outstanding Service to Football in 1977.

Additionally, Hunter was a very worthy recipient of the MBE, Member of the British Empire, in 1979, the year in which the stand at Gardens Oval was named in his honour.

The lobbying at national level by Hunter Harrison saw the NT accepted into the National Secondary Schoolboy Championships for the first time in 1974 and then the National Primary Exchange in 1975.

As a member of the then National Football Council he negotiated NT entry into the National U/17 Teal Cup Championships which have evolved into the AFL National U/16 and U/18 events which provide the opportunity to be drafted to the AFL.

Hunter Harrison also used his casting vote to use a local umpire for the 1974 NTFL Grand Final, a practice which has continued to this day.

A life member of the Australian Football Council, the Teal Cup second division best and fairest medal was named in his honour, and he was an inductee into the inaugural AFL Northern Territory Hall of Fame, in 2010


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